The State Fair of Virginia opens for its 10 day run at The Meadow Event Park in Caroline County this morning. There’s plenty to see and do at the annual celebration of Virginia’s most beloved traditions, agriculture, arts, and fun.
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Fair fare–both traditional and wildly inventive
As usual, adventurous eaters will find a wide variety of gastronomical delights at this year’s fair. This year’s highlights include Philly Tots, a Bacon Pretzel Dog, and chocolate-dipped corn on the cob. Visitors can wash down all that tasty goodness with a bacon iced tea or the fair’s signature craft beer, “Virginia Midway.”
For those who like breakfast for dinner, there’s also Breakfast on a Stick—a bacon-wrapped sausage dipped in pancake batter and deep-fried. Or if you’d like something hardier for dinner, try a Country Rib on a Stick.
Other new fare includes Philly Tots, which are deep-fried potato nuggets topped with shredded beef, Swiss cheese and green peppers; strawberry shortcake doughnuts; deep-fried cinnamon buns; crab and blue cheese burgers; s’more cobbler; and sweet quesadillas.
Traditionalists, don’t fear, there will be no shortage of fair food staples, including funnel cakes of every variety—plain, red velvet, pumpkin and fruit-topped. There also will be plenty of corn dogs, Italian sausages, ribbon fries and deep-fried Oreos, Twinkies, cheesecake, candy bars and any number of other things that can be battered and fried–including deep-fried butter. There also will be candied and caramel apples, cotton candy, kettle corn, pork parfaits and a variety of seafood, including gator bites.
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Craft brews to wash it all down
And in a nod to Virginia’s craft breweries, fairgoers can pair their foods with tasty beers including Virginia Midway, an American pale wheat ale from Midnight Brewery; Saison, a farmhouse-style ale from Ardent Craft Ales; Apple cider made with Virginia Granny Smith apples from Bold Rock Hard Cider; Oktoberfest, a classic Munich fest beer from Center of the Universe Brewing Co.; Pony Pasture, a Czech pilsner from Lickinghole Creek Craft Brewery; Great Return, a West Coast-style IPA from Hardywood Park Craft Brewery; Vienna Lager from Devil’s Backbone Brewing Company; Grateful, an American pale ale from Starr Hill Brewery; Lil Hellion, a Bavarian lager from Brothers Craft Brewing; and El Guapo, an agave IPA from O’Connor Brewing Co.
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Live music every night, included with admission
The State Fair concert lineup will include country singer/songwriter Granger Smith, featuring Earl Dibbles Jr.; beach music from The Tams; rock classics from the Little River Band and Teaze; and a finale from country rock band Carolina Gold.
Admission to evening concerts is included in the fair’s general admission price. Seating will be festival-style, which means there will be no assigned seats, and visitors are welcome to bring lawn chairs or blankets. Chair rentals and a chair check station will be available as well.
The Little River Band will have you Reminiscing. The Australian rockers sold more than 25 million records with hits like Lonesome Loser and Cool Change. Hear them at 7:00 PM on September 23rd.
Prospect 7 is the first Virginia band in the lineup. A little bit of everything can be expected from this contemporary Christian and alternative blues/rock band that plays both originals and covers. Check them out at 7:00 PM on September 24th.
You can “Sing along, sing along” to Granger Smith’s Backroad Song at 7:00 PM on September 25th. Smith, featuring Earl Dibbles Jr., has performed in 10 countries, on three continents and at the White House. His first national-debut album, Remington, hit store shelves this past spring.
Contemporary Christian Richmond natives Arise Band will take the stage at 7:00 PM on September 26th. The band originated from a ministry worship team dedicated to young adults.
After opening for big industry names like Kenny Chesney, Martina McBride, Trace Adkins, Missy Elliott, Timbaland and J. Cole, Kevin MaC will perform at the fair at 7:00 PM on September 27th. The Virginia singer/songwriter will be performing what he calls his “southern swag” mix of country and hip-hop.
Fairgoers craving a trip back in time to the moves, spandex and hair metal of the ‘80s will want to catch cover band Teaze at 7:00 PM on September 28th. Enjoy hits from Bon Jovi, Van Halen, Poison and many more metal artists.
Virginia bluegrass favorite the Commonwealth Bluegrass Band will perform at at 7:00 PM on September 29th. Known for a mix of traditional and modern bluegrass, it promises an energetic performance.
Fairgoers will have on opportunity on September 30th to enjoy beach music tunes from The Tams, who have scored several hits since the 1960s. Their U.S. Top 40 success came with their single Be Young, Be Foolish, Be Happy. In the ‘90s, the band recorded and toured with Jimmy Buffett. They’ll perform at 7:00 PM.
Bluegrass fans historically flock to the State Fair’s fiddle and banjo competitions, which will be held October 1st. The fiddle competition will start at 11:00 AM and the banjo competition will start at 2:30 PM.
Later that evening, Richmond-based country band Jackson Ward is sure to excite with its old-school country vibe. Hear the band’s hit single, Goodbye Trouble, along with music from its debut album at 7:00 PM on October 1st.
Carolina Gold will help wrap up the 2016 fair at 7:00 PM on October 2nd with its latest single, “Hurricane,” along with fresh country and rock-n-roll.
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Save a few bucks on all that family fun
Streamlined visits to the State Fair begin with advance tickets, which save fairgoers time and money. Advance tickets can be purchased online and at Walgreens locations around Richmond. The fair Ticket Plaza will feature a new express lane specifically for anyone who has purchased an advance ticket.
Advance tickets are $12 for adults and $8 for youth 5-12 and seniors 60 and older. They can be used any day during the fair. Children 4 and younger will be admitted free.
For families who want to enjoy prime parking, the new combo ticket—good Saturdays and Sundays—includes an up-close parking space and quicker access to all the fun. A limited number of combo tickets will be sold for $25 in advance only and will include one adult admission and parking near Harvest Landing on the north side of state Route 30. Other vehicle occupants must have advance admission tickets as well.
On opening day–Friday, September 23rd–fairgoers who donate five cans of Food Lion branded product will receive a coupon off the $15 adult admission or the $11 youth and senior admission. All donated food will benefit FeedMore.
Rides are not included in fair admission, but visitors can save $5 online and at Walgreens on advance-purchase vouchers for unlimited ride wristbands. Advance wristbands are $20. Richmond-area Food Lion stores are offering coupons good for $5 off the purchase of a weekday Unlimited Ride Wristband, good Monday through Friday.
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Getting there, getting around
The State Fair of Virginia app returns this year, which aims to help fairgoers find their favorite foods and events. The free iPhone- and Android-compatible app is available from the App Store and Google Play.
Visitors also can access daily fair schedules online or pick up a 10 day schedule and map upon arrival at the Ticket Plaza.
“We’ve made every effort to put the kind of information online that fairgoers need when planning a visit,” said Marlene Pierson-Jolliffe, the fair’s executive director. “It’s also important to think about items that will help make your day more enjoyable. Those include comfortable clothes and shoes that take the weather into account, hats and sunscreen—especially important for children—and any personal medications you might need over the course of your day. It’s not a bad idea to have warmer clothing or rain gear in the car, too, just in case. Guests who get a hand stamp will be able to leave the fair to go back to their vehicles, and then re-enter.”
Parking at The Meadow is free, and parking lot trams will be running in Lots A and C to help visitors get to and from their vehicles. Look for tram stops designated with small tents and flags. Fair officials advise guests to note the numbered sign nearest their vehicles so they can find their way back easily.
In the portion of the fair on the north side of state Route 30, customers can use guest service carts to shuttle between designated stops.
Accessibility is also a priority at the fair, because everyone should be able to enjoy the festivities comfortably. Guests will be able to rent wheelchairs, motorized scooters and single and double strollers outside the Ticket Plaza on a first come, first served basis. Chair rentals and a personal chair check station will be available near the Festival Stage, and guests are welcome to bring blankets as well to enjoy musical performances from the lawn outside Meadow Hall.
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Schedule and hours of operation
Ticket plaza and building/exhibit hours will be 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays and 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Sundays and Monday through Thursday. Rides will operate for at least one hour after the ticket plaza closes.
General admission includes access to all concerts, performances, exhibits and demonstrations. Ride tickets and single-day unlimited-ride wristbands will be available for purchase at Ride Ticket Booths in the Midway and Kidway areas. Requirements for rides and some attractions include height, weight and whether a child must be accompanied by an adult. Those requirements will be displayed at each ride and attraction, as well as at the Midway Customer Service booth.
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Stuck at home? Explore some of Virginia’s most significant historic, cultural sites online for free
Just because you’re social distancing it doesn’t mean you cant explore some of Virginia’s most magnificent cultural and historical sites virtually, online, for free. Here’s a roundup of where you can explore and what you can learn.
By Caroline Logan, Virginia Tourism
With the international crisis regarding COVID-19, also referred to as Coronavirus, visitors may be canceling or rescheduling upcoming travel plans and staying home.
While people are self-isolating and social distancing, many museums, historic sites, and other tourism destinations are offering virtual options for visitors to explore and learn.
Mount Vernon will continue its mission to educate people around the world through its robust digital presence. The historic site will provide digital tours of the mansion through mountvernon.org/virtualtour. The Washington Library has also prepared digital resources for students and their parents will be working with its network of teachers nationwide to support their educational efforts. These resources can be accessed at mountvernon.org/digital. Mount Vernon’s YouTube channel also features a livestream of the estate’s newborn lambs.
Monticello hosts a number of online exhibits including “The Declaration Around the World,” “The Life of Sally Hemings,” and “ Users can also download the Slavery at Monticello: Life and Work on Mulberry Row app for free.
James Madison’s Montpelier has publicly accessible blog posts, websites, podcasts, and social media posts for visitors to enjoy. Access to podcasts and video series can be found on the site’s YouTube page. Those interested in the research, history, archaeology, and collecting at Montpelier can visit the Digital Doorway for a wealth of information at digitaldoorway.montpelier.org.
Colonial Williamsburg is adding content to its Explore From Home website from the people who bring history to life. Resources include guides for teachers, quizzes and puzzles for students, interactive timeline, pages for exploring art collections, and printable coloring sheets from The Art Museums of Colonial Williamsburg, as well as libraries, archives, and other cultural institutions around the world.
The Virginia Museum of History & Culture in Richmond will be offering free online video content, webinars, student learning resources, and virtual tours at VirginiaHistory.org/AtHome.
The National Museum of the Marine Corps in Triangle has a virtual tour and numerous distance learning opportunities. The rich, interactive virtual environment will serve as the gateway for Marines and visitors to see the museum from the comfort of their homes. The museum’s online distance learning programs engage audiences with the history of the United States Marine Corps. Programs include a plethora of virtual learning experiences and subject matter for people to learn important and interesting topics related to the Marine Corps. Take the virtual tour at virtualusmcmuseum.com and access the distance learning programs at usmcmuseum.com/distance-learning.html.
The Chrysler Museum of Art located in Norfolk’s NEON Arts District features 50 galleries, 30,000 objects, and a world-renowned glass collection. Viewers can take a virtual tour through the galleries as well as explore the museum’s Digital Collections featuring European and American paintings, sculptures and decorative arts and works from African, ancient Egyptian, Pre-Columbian, Islamic and Asian cultures.
Join the Virginia Zoo in Norfolk for a Virtual Voyage every day at 2 p.m. (March 16 – 30, 2020) on its Facebook page. Visitors can go behind the scenes, tour the zoo, and check in on their favorite animals. The zoo’s Virtual Voyage website also offers augmented reality tours, printable activity sheets, a YouTube video series, and more.
Take a virtual walking tour of historic Fincastle in Botetourt County with over 50 individual “stops,” each complete with a picture and background about the location.
The Kids Square Children’s Museum in Roanoke will go live on Facebook at least once a day during the week until reopening. They’ll be doing everything from science experiments to book reading. Visitors joining the livestream have the chance to win one of the items that Kids Square is playing with that day.
The Blue Ridge Institute and Museum in Ferrum offers the following online exhibits for individuals to learn more about folk heritage in the Blue Ridge region.
- Full Throttle: Racing and Rodding in Southwest and Central Virginia
- Moonshine: Blue Ridge Style
- Deathly Lyrics: Songs of Virginia Tragedies
- Earthenware Along the Great Road in Virginia and Tennessee
The Virginia Museum of Transportation in Roanoke has images and background information on nearly every item in the rail, road, air, and ship collections. Collections are separated by category and can be accessed here.
The William King Museum of Art in Abingdon will be broadcasting live via Facebook every Tuesday and Thursday at 2 p.m. Videos will include tours of the galleries, insider looks at collections, family-friendly art projects, and live art demos.
Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden in Richmond is sharing “Virtual Visits” on its Facebook page as well as putting resources for learning (including activities for kids) and ideas for relaxation and mental health on its website lewisginter.org.
Take a virtual tour around Virginia Beach’s cultural enclave by using this Google Mural Map to explore the ViBe Creative District on a virtual, self-guided mural tour. Click on the map icons to find information about the artists, artworks and locations, along with multiple images of the artwork and video links of murals created during the last two years of the ViBe Mural Festival.
The Barter Theatre in Abingdon is working to offer its patrons the ability to stream productions from home. The production of “Peter Pan” that was originally scheduled to open on April 7 will be online to patrons as well as access special bonus features. The theatre will also be providing coordinating educator resources, including lesson plans and a study guide. More information can be found here: bartertheatre.com/barter-theatre-on-demand
The Virginia Aquarium & Marine Science Center in Virginia Beach will provide entertaining, educational content to fans including live streams, video footage, crafts for kids, and behind the scenes peeks on its website and social media channels.
The City of Alexandria created a new web hub called ALX at Home, which brings residents and nearby visitors their favorite Alexandria restaurants, shops and attractions to the comfort of their own home. Features include:
- 50+ restaurant and 15 retail deals and offerings
- Attraction offerings such as virtual tours and a “Ride it Out” bike rental program from Unlimited Biking.
- Cocktail Corner for Happy Hour at home with instructional videos from The Hour boutique.
- Puppy Love, bringing a daily dose of cuteness from Alexandria’s four-legged friends.
The Omni Homestead Resort’s podcast, Beyond the Tower offers an insider’s look into one of America’s most iconic resorts. From historical anecdotes to one-of-a-kind experiences, Beyond the Tower includes topics from the history of the resort and golf to the Garth Newel Music Center and the resort’s partnership with a local farmer. Each episode begins and ends with “Welcome to My Homestead,” an original composition from David Hill, a native of Roanoke, Virginia and one of the resort’s most popular musicians.
For those interested in historic moments of Virginia, listen to the Following Harriet podcast. Following Harriet takes a closer look at the life of one of the bravest and most extraordinary women in our country’s history. It also puts Harriet in a broader context, examining the 19th Century experience of African Americans, especially in Virginia.
Do you know of any other online options that attractions are providing? Let us know in the comments below.
Planned Weekend Opening for Goochland Drive-In Canceled
If you want to catch a movie on a big, really, really big screen this is pretty much your only option.
As you know, the GDIT had planned to open this weekend – with modifications to our operations that would promote social distancing and responsibility.
The news and mandates continue to change daily. The latest info from our health department states we can open, but no concession sales. We simply don’t know what restrictions may be imposed tomorrow.
Right now things are unfamiliar and uncomfortable for all of us. But we believe brighter days are ahead……as they always are. They’ll get here quicker if we all do our part….and that’s what we plan to do.
So we’ve decided to delay the start of our 2020 Season…..we sincerely hope you understand and promise to keep you all updated. Thank you all for the love & support.
Hope to see you soon under the stars.
With kindest regards,
It’s easier to practice social distancing when you’re in a car. That being said the folks at Goochland Drive-In are making some changes outlined below. I can only speak to one of the movies being shown. 1917 was an amazing film that benefits from being on the big screen of a normal theater I can only imagine what it’ll look like at the drive-in.
- Parking limited to 70% of capacity
- Markers placed in service lines at Snack Bar to separate folks
- Condiments will be handed out in packets – self-serve pumps removed from front tables
- Outside Food Permit — while we survive off concession purchases, this weekend patrons may bring in their own food for an extra $15 per vehicle….paid at the Ticket Booth along with admission…..and will be provided a food permit to display
- We have always been sticklers for cleanliness…that will never change — but for now….a Crew member will be present to constantly clean and sanitize
- Doors to the restrooms will be propped open to allow fresh air and to avoid touching the door.
PLAYGROUND – CLOSED
- Children have proven to be nearly immune – but in the best interest of all, the playground will be closed…….however, feel free to bring along your own frisbees, cornhole, games, etc. to stay entertained before the show
Thank you all for taking a moment to read this post — we look forward to seeing you guys this weekend!!!
Music at Maymont announces Carbon Leaf as first 2020 season show
The Richmond favorites will take the stage July 18th at historic Maymont as part of their Brothers In Arms tour.
Haymaker Productions has announced the first act for Music at Maymont for the 2020 series: Richmond’s own Carbon Leaf will take the stage Saturday, July 18th at 7:00 PM. After their Richmond start, Carbon Leaf has been entertaining audiences worldwide for well over two decades.
Blending rock, folk, Celtic, bluegrass and Americana traditions into a high-energy style the group calls ether-electrified porch music, Carbon Leaf’s poetic songs are brought to life with acoustic and electric guitars, mandolin, fiddle, bass, drums, cello, banjo, pennywhistle, pedal steel, accordion, and rich vocal harmony.
The Virginia quintet writes, records and produces its music independently from their studio in Richmond and has performed over 2,400 lives shows across 17 albums in their long career. The group’s independent music and spirit continue to resonate with its fans.
Doors open at 6:00 PM. Tickets for Carbon Leaf are $25 in advance and $35 at the gate.
Children under 10 free with paid adult admission. Tickets can be purchased beginning March 13 at eventbrite.com. The Maymont Stage is located at 1700 Hampton Street.